Oh, buddies. Do I have some insanely amazing stories and whatnots for you today! Let’s just jump into them!
Kelvin VA Allison and Megan Stockton
This was… just wow. One of favorite tropes is stories within stories. Think Four Rooms (the one that started my obsession) then add in cryptids and you have a small understanding of the premise of this story.
Interweaving storylines and characters mixed with emotional situations and blood, guts and gore keep you turning the pages. What I found to be more remarkable than even the story was the cohesiveness of it. While Allison and Stockton have much different writing voices and styles, the reader can’t tell who wrote what or where they stopped. That is freaking talent.
Werewolves, a banshee, Medusa (my ABSOLUTE favorite), two human security guards, and so many more have a place in the ADLEPARMEUN. (Also, this is based off the entire community of Whittier, AK living in one building. It’s fascinating to see in person… even though the old tower is creepy as hell.)
The first entry on my Top Ten of 2024, other books will be held to this bar, and friends, it’s not going to be easily beaten.
A DOUBLE HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
THE BONE CUTTERS
Renee S. DeCamillis
How do I even start this review?! I have never felt so disoriented, confused, or so a part of a character in my life and it was all worth it!
Dabbler (Dory) is in an asylum or mental institution of sorts. We are forced into the middle of the story only having her inner monologue. Is she crazy? To be trusted? Are the bone cutters even real? What IS real? Slowly the story begins to unveil itself and there is no getting out until Nurse Hatchet lets you.
TBC is superb! Showing mental illness and how institutions may not take the patient’s accounts over what is really happening was unnerving as well. If the supervisor’s and higher ups don’t listen, what chance do patient’s have. The thoroughness and care that DeCamillis gives the characters and their illnesses is extremely thoughtful. “They’ll think I’m judging them. Never judge. I don’t know where they have traveled.”
Bizarre, suspenseful, anxiety inducing, and part supernatural, this is one not to be missed.
A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 5/5.
Rowland Bercy Jr., Lucas Mangum, and Carver Pike
First thing’s first, I love all three of these authors more than I love cake, and I’m a BIG fan of cake. Now with that said, I’m not happy with any of them. There are reasons… let’s get into them.
B.I.R.D.S. by Rowland Bercy Jr.
I don’t like birds. At all. Scared to death to be honest. And guess what this goddamn story has all in it… BIRDS! And so many of them. And they stalk people. whines But I loved it and that’s the brilliance of Mr. Bercy Jr. He can write some of the most vile, upsetting, and uncomfortable scenes and you keep reading because how he writes. B.I.R.D.S. is creative and … well, it’s perfect for bird lovers.
DRACULA AND THE DEVIL WALK INTO A BAR by Lucas Mangum
I had the absolute honor of reading this one early last year and I fell in love with it immediately because it has the Devil in it. I’m a simple gal, a little Devil, a little smut, and I’m happy. While there isn’t smut in this one there is a vampire, lesbians, and a whole lot of blood. Imagine a funny version of FROM DUSK TIL DAWN but no weird drinking from Selma Hayek’s foot. There is so much of Mangum’s humor in this that it’s just all a recipe for the perfect story.
And last but certainly not least…
ROAD WRATH by Carver Pike
You know how else to get me to love a story? Cults. Dumb young adults. And blood. Add in a gross couple with a grosser abortion of a child and BAM! Winner. From the first page to the last, Pike crafts a story that forces the reader to strap in and hold on to the door handle because it’s a bumpy and bloody ride. The couple in this story… I am snarling as I write this because I disliked them so much but I LOVE that deep, real reaction to fictional characters and Pike is the King of causing that.
Friends, I’m telling you, this is a superb collection (anthology, hell if I know). With three of the most talented authors we have in the community serving up three completely different but somehow same universe feeling stories, it’s a full on win and worth every penny and then some.
A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 5/5.